The Palace Intrigue Behind the Assault on Israel's Cairo Embassy

The Christian Science Monitor’s Dan Murphy in Cairo has an interesting take on the storming of the Israeli embassy last Friday. It’s not exactly optimistic — he thinks that the Egyptian military was slow to restore order at least partly because it wants to be more attentive to public opinion than the Mubarak regime was, and “with a growing number of Egyptians finding their voice in the public sphere, business as usual with Israel seems highly unlikely, at least in the medium term.”

The implication here is that the Egyptian people really don’t like Israel, and that the more democratic the country becomes, the more hostile it will be toward Israel. But Murphy doesn’t follow that train of thought. In fact, he says the attackers weren’t really motivated by anti-Israel rage. They weren’t a brigade of Muslim fundamentalists or other anti-Israel radicals. They were overheated soccer fans venting their anger at the police, and the police were letting them vent.

He was there, and his read on the crowd is absolutely something to be taken seriously. His take on the role of the security forces is also worth noting:

But Murphy thinks there was a subtler, more Machiavellian purpose behind the security forces’ permissiveness:

I should interject here that Lynch thinks such an outcome — a delay of elections, consolidation of power by the military, giving the liberals more time to organize and compete with the Islamists — would be a bad thing. That’s reflected in the headline of his Foreign Policy post: ”Don’t Let the Israeli Embassy Disaster Kill Egyptian Democracy.”

CSM’s Murphy seems to feel the same way. Here’s how he views the Islamists’ role in the current maneuvering:

If I were a cynic, I might suggest that the Islamists are just as Machiavellian as the army, and that once they have a foothold in the halls of power they’ll behave rather differently. But who am I to question another country’s democratic processes?

Written by

J.J. Goldberg

J.J. Goldberg

Jonathan Jeremy “J.J.” Goldberg is editor-at-large of the Forward, where he served as editor in chief for seven years (2000-2007).

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The Palace Intrigue Behind the Assault on Israel's Cairo Embassy

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